The first day of Georgia’s annual legislative session Monday began with a football highlight reel in the state House and ended with lawmakers shouting, “Go Dawgs.”

Little business got done as Monday’s college national championship game between Georgia and Alabama overshadowed what was happening at the Capitol.

The initial inactivity will soon give way to contentious bills in an election year, with at least a dozen legislators running for higher office and the General Assembly planning to consider proposals on expanded gun rights, tax cuts, teacher pay raises and election rules.

House Speaker David Ralston made his priorities clear from the start.

“Welcome to legislative Day One of the 2022 session, but more importantly, welcome to national championship day,” said Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “The Georgia Bulldogs tonight before midnight will set everything right with the world.”

Legislators referred several recently introduced bills to their committees, including measures that would create a new city of Buckhead from Atlanta, add a state holiday to observe Juneteenth and ban ballot drop boxes.

The only vote Monday set the calendar for the first seven business days of the 40-day lawmaking session.

Legislators will take Tuesday off to recover from the national championship game, then return to the Capitol for the rest of the week and hold budget hearings next week. Committees will also begin considering bills.

Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler said she welcomed the peaceful start ahead of heated debates driven by election-year politics. Besides legislators running for higher office, all 236 seats in the General Assembly are up for election in November.

“I hope that we can work together, that’s not to say that we will, but that’s what I would hope for,” said Butler, a Democrat from Stone Mountain. “We’re all on the same page on the first day. I had nothing to object to.”

As the House adjourned, loudspeakers played the Georgia fight song, “Glory, Glory,” as some legislators hurried to the airport to fly to Indianapolis for the game.

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